Ahead of November 1 deadline for the implementation of anti grazing bill in Benue State, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, has appealed to the federal government to prevail on the Benue State government to extend the implementation date.
The National Coordinator of the association, Alhaji Garus Gololo, told newsmen on Sunday in Makurdi that the extension of the implementation time would enable both the government and the herdsmen resolve some grey areas in the law.
He, however, did not disclose the duration of the extension needed.
Gololo regretted that the law had placed certain responsibilities on the part of herdsmen that were difficult to fulfill within the time frame provided for its implementation.
“For instance, we are expected to ranch our cattle, but a typical ranch involves the construction of schools for the children of the nomads, a veterinary clinic, borehole for its water supply, electricity and adequate space for the cattle to graze within the ranch.
”At the moment, what the government has promised is only the pivot ranches where all arrested cattle would be kept for a time after which it would be sold,” he observed.
According to him, since it was difficult to buy land from the villagers, government should construct ranches and rent them to herdsmen as it was not possible to get land from the indigenes.
He said it would not be in the interest of all for the Fulanis to leave the state in anger and called on the federal government to intervene to save the state from further crises.
He stated that the herdsmen were set to migrate to Nasarawa, Taraba and Niger states if all entreaties for extension of the implementation time for the law failed.
Gololo, accused Gov. Samuel Ortom’s Security Adviser, retired Col. Edwin Jando, of masterminding the anti open grazing law as a move to chase out the Fulanis from the state.
“We (MACBAN) have no confidence in Col. Jando. He does not want us and our cattle in Benue and we are leaving. I have written a petition to the governor against Jando,” Gololo said.
Responding to the accusations by Gololo, Jando said nobody wanted the Fulanis out of the state.
Jando explained that the herdsmen were carried along in all processes leading to the enactment of the law, adding that it was not correct for MACBAN to claim that the law was against them and was to flush them out of the state.
He said the import of the law was to protect livestock owners by criminalizing cattle rustling.
“Apart from providing a permanent solution to incessant clashes between farmers and herders, it protects livestock owners by criminalizing cattle rustling.
“The extensive sensitization and advocacy of this law has made the MACBAN who were initially apprehensive to now support it.
“In view of the above facts, it is not true that Fulanis are not wanted in Benue,” he explained.